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Politicians behaviour and Transparency in Chile and Uruguay: A new rule of the game?

Fabrizio Scrollini
The London School of Economics & Political Science
Fabrizio Scrollini
The London School of Economics & Political Science
Open Panel

Abstract

Latin American countries are increasingly adopting access to public information laws (ATI) ,under the banner of more transpareny, better accountability and more informed citizen participation. The outcomes of this new regulation and its particular effect on politicians behaviours in the region is yet largely unexplored. If citizens have more information in order to control politicians, the way politicians interact with the citizenry may change. Whether this change is possitive in terms of demcoratic accountability may be a different story. Are politicians being more honest with the citizenry? Or are they refining their “blame shifting game”? How do they react to a new and allegedly more informed proccesses vertical and horizontal accountability? This paper will focus in two cases: Chile and Uruguay. Both countries have recently created new institutions in terms of access to information that may affect their current governance framework. Furthermore, both countries are considered strong, stable and transparent democracies according to many international indicators. Neverheless both countries developed different arrangements in order to release public information, which may lead , among other factors, to different outcomes in terms of political accountability. This paper will provide an analysis of how these laws emerged in both countries, comparing the different reach and implication for each political system.Then, it will focus on particular cases where information released under ATI laws had specific political impact, comparing the different “games” played in Uruguayan and Chilean polity so far. Finally it will analyse the current state of affairs, providing a set of hypotheses about how this new “rule of the game” could develop in terms of political accountabiliy in Chile and Uruguay.